December 1, 2005
Vol. 25 No. 6

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    ‘A night of exquisite absurdity’

    The University’s annual Latke-Hamantash Debate drew a large crowd to Mandel Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 22, where several faculty members laid out their arguments for the victual of their choice. Latkes, which are potato pancakes eaten during Hanukkah, and hamantashen, triangular-shaped pastries associated with Purim, are the focus of this famous Chicago debate. Colm O’Muircheartaigh (right, top photo), Professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, presented his case for the first time on the debate stage. Presenting “Two Tales of One City” was Ralph Austen, Professor in History (above), who approached the verbal contest much the same way Chicagoans argue the merits of their beloved Chicago Cubs on the North Side or the endearing World Series champion White Sox on the South Side. Ted Cohen (at left in photo at bottom right), returned as moderator for the event, which ended with the traditional sampling of some winning latkes and runner-up hamantashen. This year, the debates of past years made their print debut in an anthology published by the University Press. As quoted in the New York Times, the editor of the collection Ruth Fredman Cernea welcomed the audience to “a night of exquisite absurdity.”